rockwood wrote:When 4014 came through northern Utah, my wife and I had the opportunity to attend a VIP dinner put on by a local model railroad club and we ended up sitting at the back with two young UP employees...one was a machinist at the Cheyenne shops and the other was a conductor IIRC. I questioned them about the coal to oil conversion and I could tell that they had been questioned about it a lot. They basically said that it is due to materials handling issues that required more work (literally tons ash had to be shoveled by hand etc.) as well as the equipment for handling the large amount of coal needed to run the engine.
Using oil is easier but but has it's own problems. The fireboxes on these locomotives were designed for coal and I do know that they've had a constant battle with other engines that they've restored (3985 and 844) trying to get them to work with burning oil.
If they really wanted to keep 4014 on coal I know they could do it. A better ash removal/handling system could be developed as well as mobile coal handling equipment that could follow the train to refuel it as needed.
I've read that attempts were made to burn oil in a 4000 class locomotive many years ago but it didn't work out...Maybe the same thing will happen this time.
Ah yes, when they got rid of the last steam locomotives they took out the ash dumping pits,
that received the coal ashed dumped out of the ash pit in the boiler that was dumped with
a lever located outside the locomotives that opened the ash dumping door that dumped the
ashes and coals into the the concrete ash pits which were emptied by the steam operated
ash pit hoist buckets which were lifted by the ash pit hoists and dumped the ashes into
They eliminated the steam powered coal elevators that dumped into the wood or concrete
coal coal tipples that dumped the coal into the tenders using coal chutes that were raised
and lowered with a wire rope winch and they scrapped the coal stokers used to feed the
coal into the locomotive boilers WITH NO SHOVELING.
The problem with the oil they used oil was that the oil used was the no. 2 heavy fuel oil and it
cost much less and did not burn well-hence the white smoke from incomplete